The Girl Scouts are handing out some unusual holiday advice for parents by telling them not to force their daughters to be touchy-feely with their relatives.
In light of the mass sex scandals playing out across the country right now, the organization for girls issued the warning on its official page, urging parents to let their daughters skip the holiday hugging and kissing, according to Fox News.
While the suggestion to back-off from letting relatives hug a young girl when gathered around the dinner table might seem odd at first, the group’s reasoning might have some re-thinking pushing her into a family member’s arms.
The scouting organization wants girls to know they do not “owe” another person physical affection just because a relative did something nice for them during the holidays. The Girl Scouts posted:
The post read, in part:
…[T]elling your child that she owes someone a hug either just because she hasn’t seen this person in a while or because they gave her a gift can set the stage for her questioning whether she “owes” another person any type of physical affection when they’ve bought her dinner or done something else seemingly nice for her later in life.
Nudging kids to show love to family members happens sometimes, and it doesn’t seem odd for a parent to do that because some relatives expect a hug. The article asked:
Have you ever insisted, “Uncle just got here—go give him a big hug!” or “Auntie gave you that nice toy, go give her a kiss,” when you were worried your child might not offer affection on her own?
Forced affection can come at a high cost to your child later in life, according to Girl Scouts developmental psychologist Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald:
“The lessons girls learn when they’re young about setting physical boundaries and expecting them to be respected last a lifetime, and can influence how she feels about herself and her body as she gets older.”
The Girl Scouts suggest letting daughters learn to protect her body, understand what consent means, and recognize when she feels uncomfortable being touched by someone, even if that person is a member of her family.
The organization recommends a girl can blow an air kiss or give a high-five instead of being forced to give out hugs and kisses by parents who fear their child will look rude.